FOUNTAIN CITY, Ind.
Even a few raindrops couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm and high spirits Monday for Northeastern cross country.
Monday night, the Knights welcomed Blue River for a dual meet, and the result was the same as every dual meet for the Northeastern varsity boys team during the four-year run for high school head coach Mark Kerkhoff.
A team win for the Knight boys.
This time, the score was Northeastern 23, Blue River 32, and afterward, the four Knight seniors spoke on this fourth successive year of success in the dual meet format.
“The streak has kind of just happened, we didn’t really think of it at the beginning,” said one of the quartet, Andy Scripture.
The runner that set the pace Monday night, and has for much of this season, Eric Yandl, spoke of the team leaders now, and in past years.
“All of us had to pick it up a little bit after Bryson (Stevens), Curtis (Hieger) and Dustin (Rice) graduated, but it’s been good,” Yandl said. “We just want to keep the streak going.”
Seniors Stephen Scruggs and Chase Brookshear spoke on the team’s success.
“Since joining the team, I wanted to come up in my place on the team, be a part of the varsity team, and I just had to pick it up to do that,” Scruggs said.
Brookshear is currently out with an injury, but is expected back soon.
“Back when the team made it to semistate, I realized what a big deal it was for the whole school, not just us on the team,” Brookshear added. “The success of the past teams made me strive to be better, to keep this team at the level that it has been at for several years.”
There is also one senior runner on the girls team, Ashley Mosley, who talked about the boys team and its effect on the Knight girls.
“(O)ur team has had more success this season, and we’re trying harder, and are continuing to improve,” Mosley said.
Mosley has been out for nearly a month, but is now back and rounding into form. She was first in Monday’s girls race.
“I’m just running the best I can, just to keep going, and do the best I can the rest of the season,” she said.
As for Kerkhoff, he’s proud of his runners, past and present.
“It’s great that the kids care so much about this streak, and the fact that we will be trying to four-peat as Tri-Eastern Conference (TEC) boys team champions next month (Oct. 4 at Union City),” Kerkhoff said.
“The TEC is a big meet, but the winning helps us build the program, we had four new runners at the meet tonight (Monday), four guys plus Ashley Jay is new to the girls team. Winning helps get kids out for the team, even though it is hard to get kids interested in running mile after mile.”
Kessler Fisher was second in Monday’s race, while Jake Austerman was fifth, Scripture eighth and Scruggs ninth.
With five runners now, the Knight girls scored 15 points as a team, finishing in the top five positions in the girls race. Blue River had just three girls running, and those were sixth, seventh and eighth. All of the boys and girls from both teams competed in a single race.
Next up is the New Haven Invitational on Saturday, a huge meet with 58 schools scheduled, according to Kerkhoff.